tv Confessions of a Serial Killer MSNBC September 20, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
what that derivation was then we'd have the answer. coming up, the dahmers' volatile marriage and its effects examined? >> it was unnerving, depressing, made me angry sometimes. it took joel silverman years to become a master dog trainer. but only a few commands to master depositing checks at chase atms. technology designed for you. so you can easily master the way you bank. shift without a disaster.a my bargain detergent couldn't keep up, so i switched to tide pods. they're super concentrated, so i get a better clean. 15% cleaning ingredients or 90%? don't pay for water. pay for clean! that's my tide. i work on the cheerios team. and when i found out
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environment in which he grew up and the marital strife to which he was exposed throughout his childhood. could he have been so affected it would then later drive him to commit unspeakable crimes? dahmer had strong feelings about that. >> what do you remember about your parents arguing when you were growing up and what affect that had on you? >> it was -- it was unnerving, depressing, made me angry sometimes. i'd leave the house, go out in the woods and sulk, brooding, wondering why they had to have such a rough relationship. most of the time they didn't seem to get along too well together. i never knew what the real underlying problems were. i didn't feel it was my place to ask. >> did you blame one or the other? mom or dad. >> no, i didn't, i was just frustrated when things couldn't be happier around the house. >> you just wanted things to be
more peaceful. >> right. i never saw any real violent arguments as far as physical hitting or anything like that but there was a lot of yelling. a lot of tension in the house sometimes. >> all set, everybody ready? at the time of the interview, jeffrey dahmer's mother joyce was writing her own book te tentatively titled "an assault on motherhood." she insisted her co-author sit beside her. the book was never published and the co-author was never in the original interview what kind of things was jeff exposed to? >> nothing out of the ordinary. what can i do? i can compare it with my own upbringing. my mother and father thought and it was a normal thing and they would get over it and lionel and i discovered very early on that
we were very different people. i was more emotional and more outgoing than he was and marriage became, really, a very unhappy place and how much that affected the children at the time i didn't think that it affected them in any really harmful way because they were never physically abused. >> there were very heated arguments and on occasion that would lead to some physical -- >> excuse me, if you want to stop a minute and think about whether you want to talk about that abuse. >> how am i going to know what's
going to be on television and what's not going to be. >> well, i think you need to assume while only a very small portion of this will be on. i mean, i want you to be comfortable with what you say because -- >> well, one of the things that i don't want to get involved with in this television show is trying to do the same thing to lionel as he's done to me and this is to somehow blame him. >> i'm not asking -- i really don't want to get to -- >> is this -- >> we're rolling. but i'm really not concerned with fault and whether it was you or lionel. what i'm trying to understand is what was going on between you, for whatever reason. i'm sure both of you brought something to the table on that. that's usually the case in a marriage situation. my question is, what do you
recall of the things that were happening to you that jeff may have been exposed to and to the extent that there is some question about the kind of emotional turmoil that might have caused him. >> stone, i have to tell you, i've thought of that over and over again and there is nothing about the kind of arguments, the kinds of fights we might have had, the disagreements over how to bring up children there was nothing unusual about that. and jeff is not the result of what is going on in any home in america. he's not the result of that. >> so you're saying it wasn't a perfect marriage but it was nothing so extraordinary that it could explain why he went on to
do what he did. >> absolutely not. i'm telling you the truth the very best i can. there wasn't anything unusual. >> it was pretty intense, the arguments between the two of you. >> yes, yes. a lot of the arguments were very intense and i couldn't see any way but to just leave the room or leave the house. there was no compromise. >> how much of this violence in the home was jeff exposed to? >> there were times when he heard the shout iing and her physical agitated motions he observed them and he went outside and just left the house and i learned later, i didn't know at the time, i didn't hear him do this but i learned later he was slapping the trees with branches and styx and i guess
apparently out of frustration so apparently jeff was very disturbed over the arguments. i have no doubt he was very disturbed. >> there are thousands, literally thousands, of children who grow up exposed to these kinds of problems. >> and worse. >> and worse. and yet they don't go on to do the kinds of things that jeff did. >> in and of themselves they're not the -- i guess we would say not the only factors. but, you know, everyone's an individual, i guess, aren't they? but there may have been more important unknown to us yet trigger points that make jeff more unique than the usual case. >> when you think back on those times, the arguments and the possible effect it had on the kids is it -- does it cause you anguish? >> it makes me sick that we didn't have a more ozzie and
harriet type family. and i know there really are no ozzie and harriet families per say but there are some that really are healthy, quite healthy. and ours could have been and it just makes me sick to my stomach that it wasn't. that's how i feel. i'll feel that way till my death. coming up, the agonizing search for pieces of the puzzle turns to joyce's pregnancy with jeffrey, a topic that would feel an intense debate. >> there's an obvious discrepancy here between what you're saying and what lionel is saying about the nature of the pregnancy. >> are you serious? (vo) maggie wasn't thrilled when ben and i got married. the nature of the pregnancy. >> are you serious? and her sensitive stomach didn't make things easier. it was hard to know why... the move...her food...?
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jeffrey dahmer seemed like a normal boy growing up. so how did he become a serial killer. the roots go back to his mother's pregnancy. both of dahmer's parents said it had not been an easy time but during separate interviews with each of them, that was about all they agreed on. >> at times her legs would lock tightly in place and her whole body would grow rigid and begin to trem pbletremble. during these strange seizures her eyes would bulge like a frightened animal and she would salivate, literally frothing at the mouth. we'd have to call the doctor who in those days they still made house calls and he came immediately and it always ended up that he gave her a shot of some type of relaxant. >> what kind of drugs was she on? >> there were a mixture of things. he would have to come and inject seconal or morphine if in some
instances when her body would not relax. >> the doctor? >> yeah, the doctor. >> morphine, barbiturates? >> yeah. uh-huh. relaxants. >> phenobarbital? >> yes. uh-huh. >> she was on a pretty heavy drug regimen. >> yeah, she was on quite a heavy diet of prescription drug, right. >> what do you remember about the pregnancy? >> i had what i thought were probably the ordinary kinds of things that happen when you're pregnant and -- >> morning sickness? >> morning sickness. >> a lot of nausea? >> yes. >> lionel describes a strange undiagnosed problem. he describes it as some kind of a seizure that you developed, a proneness to seizures late in the pregnancy where you would -- he describes it as a kind of rigidness for which you were
prescribed medications. do you remember that and can you describe -- >> i don't remember that at all. i can't imagine where they comes from. it isn't true. i don't -- >> you don't recall anything like that? seizures or seizure-like episodes? >> absolutely not. >> were you prescribed medications including morphine, bar witch wabiturates? >> i don't know what medications were prescribed and i'm surprised that anyone says that there's something that lists every single medication i took 33 years ago. i had a doctor, a physician i took the medicine that was prescribed for me and for the most part i was healthy. >> you weren't on morphine? >> i don't think you give pregnant women morphine. i -- you know, i'd have to ask
my doctor. they don't give pregnant women morphine. >> bar witbiturates of any kind order to calm you down in these seizure-states as lionel describes them? >> there were no seizure-states. >> where is that coming from? >> i don't know where that's coming from. stone, i don't know. and it's one of the reasons why i'm finally speaking out because there were no seizures. there was nothing that was out of the ordinary as far as my pregnancy was concerned except that i needed to be in bed. >> there's an obvious discrepancy here between what you're saying and what lionel was saying about the nature of the pregnancy. it was difficult, you both agree, but he describes you in these states where you were, as he says, literally frothing at the mouth. >> where you serious? >> rigid states, yeah.
for which you were given medication to settle or calm you down. >> well, i don know what his purpose is in doing that. i do know that when this first happened, the very first thing that the husband that i divorced did was come out with these accusations against me. they're not true. i don't know how i can prove it to you that they're not true. >> is it possible you just don't remember them? >> no, it's not possible i don't remember them. it was my first pregnancy. i remember everything about my first pregnancy. >> there's an important point you want to talk about that you really want to make and it's the reason why you've come on. let's talk about that. >> thank you, i appreciate that very much, stone, because i'm really feeling like the questions that i've been asked so far are exactly the reason why i wanted to come on exactly the reason why i want to write a
book tentatively titled "an assault on motherhood," and that's how i feel, like i'm being assaulted by statements that can't be substantiated, that people have said are not so but here i am one more time having to defend myself. i want to get across that we as women just can't take this kind of thing anymore. if something bad happens to our son or our child there has to be a place for us to go. i want a place for ape all the victims to have a place for where there's some compassion and understanding instead of a blame -- a blaming. coming up, joyce talks about the pain of feeling blamed for her son's crimes and disputes more of her ex-husband's recollections.
>> excuse me for interrupting you but i never heard anything like that that ever happened. ♪ ♪ (vo) you can pass down a subaru forester. (dad) she's all yours. (vo) but you get to keep the memories. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. started using gain flings,fe their laundry smells more amazing than ever. (sniff) honey, isn't that the dog's towel? (dog noise) hey, mi towel, su towel. more scent plus oxi boost and febreze. it's our best gain ever!
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that's huge for my bottom line. what's in your wallet? >> 1994, jeffrey dahmer's mother, joyce flint, was tormented, feeling unfairly blamed for her son's horrific crimes. she had planned to write a book tentatively titled "an assault on motherhood" about her ordeal. in fact, her co-author set next to her during the interview, sometimes interrupting when she felt the questions were too much for joyce to handle. the book was never published but
in our interview dammer's mother talked candidly about her pain and her anger. >> do you feel that you're being blamed? >> yes, i do! >> do you feel lionel is blaming you? >> that certainly does seem to be what happened when he first came out on television. >> and there are elements of lionel's new book which do seem to say things about the pregnancy, about reluctance to breast-feed after the pregnancy, about joyce's state during early motherhood which seem to indicate something was wrong with the mothering. now, this isn't the theme of the book, but it corresponds to the theme of so many questions from the media that have come along all along the way. i'm not saying you're asking these now. >> at the same time, lionel asks a lot of questions about himself. about what kind of father he was.
about his own thoughts and maybe his own mistakes. one of the first places he looks is right in the mirror. >> but if he wants to speak about himself it's fine if he wants to make false or accurate accusations about his own behavior. now state things about joyce which may or may not be true and in some cases apparently are not true in his book is a certain type of blaming, somebody who has not yet had the opportunity to speak up. >> you've read his book. >> yes. >> joyce, you have not read it. >> no. i haven't. >> joyce has not read it yet. joyce has been not well and reading that book, which just came out, hasn't been something she was ready for. >> the excerpts i have that seen in the newspaper are so astounding to me. he told everyone that i was crazy, that i had abused my body with medicines.
that i somehow was to blame. there was no doubt about that. now he turns around and for whatever his reasons are, i don't know what he's trying to accomplish with talking about something he should have shared with me before he ever married me if he's got some thought that that had anything do with jeff. >> you mean his mental state that you weren't informed? >> dreaming of murder, obsession with explosives, he never talked about that? >> none of that. >> i think one of the points is it's all clear in retrospect. i mean, for instance, one of the anecdotes he tells in the book, joyce, is when jeff was four years old and he had crawled -- lionel -- underneath the house to remove some dead animals and he put some of the bones from the dead animals into a bucket and jeff at age four, probably
innocently, went over and was playing with the bones and seemed fascinated. >> that absolutely astounds me. excuse me for interrupting you, but i never heard anything like that that ever happened. >> you see, you're doing a television show prompted by a book which was written which apparently is one parent's story which doesn't jibe with the other parent's story at all. >> which is why we're here. >> which is why we're talking like this. >> that kind of an anecdote. >> as far as i know that never happen happened that sounds like the shows that people go on and talk about children mistreating animals and can you predict who's going to do something terrible somewhere down the line in his life. jeff's condition was proven to not have anything to do with his june bringing.
i don't want parents frightened to death thinking that the little things they do or the little things they miss are going to result in them having a child is going to cause all of this pain and anguish. that isn't the way it happened. in my mind you cannot tell how certain actions or reactions are going to be computed in a child's mind so the first thing i thought about was -- was he emotionally -- did he come out of this life with us emotionally disturbed in some way? he didn't. i've asked him. >> some people would say that someone who had committed such horrible crimes must have had something horrible happen to them. you're saying just didn't happen. >> you know, i wish i had an answer. it's a terrible feel iing to ha
this unending, unknown why did this snap what's the purpose of this happening? the horribleness that so many people have had to go through. i wish i could come up with an answer. that would be useful. it isn't useful to speculate on what small tiny little thing, did we spank our child and that turned him into a -- as they called me a monster maker. jeff was raised with all the love and care and concern that any child could be raised with and what happened to him? i don't know. i wish i knew. i'd give anything know. >> when you ask yourself that question, joyce, when you're alone with yourself and you wonder why it happened, what
answers do you come up with? what questions do you have about the origins of his madness, if you will? >> i can't explain it. i can only cry about it. i asked the universe why this would be allowed to happen. i don't have an answer for that. i'd like one. coming up, could jeffrey dahmer have been caught years before his arrest? >> i didn't know it would happen. i thought, you know, it's all going to come crashing down now. supersize your lashes. advertise your eyes! supersize your lashes. hypnotize the guys! covergirl's super sizer mascara with the amazing lash styler brush.
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selma, alabama, shooting his girlfriend in the face, her baby in the hand and the pass more to the leg. the suspect was arrested. pope francis continues a busy first full day in cuba. his latest event celebrating vespers with a group only seminarians. earlier he met privately with former cuban leader fidel castro before a sit down with his brother and current leader raul castro. now back to our msnbc special. >> tlhere were times when jeffry dahmer came close to being caught, stopped from taking more lives. one of those crucial moments still haunted dahmer's father lionel during my 1994 interview with him. l in march of 1989 you were helping him gather up his belongings going through his room, you came across a box.
tell me about that. >> it was about a one foot square box, metal and wood box that i thought contained pornographic material. >> and you asked jeff to open it? >> yeah. because my mother -- you know, i don't want her to come into contact with any of that stuff. and i asked him to open it up and he refused. he said i'd rather not. and i said "jeff, open it up, i just want to see what's in there." and he said "can't i have any privacy in the house at all? just this one square foot of privacy? and i said "jeff, open it up or i'll take it down into the basement and get a screwdriver
and open it up. just open it up. and he got angry, very visibly agitated and said "if i can't have one square foot of privacy, then i'm just going to leave. so he walked out of the house and then i took the box. i took it from him. he gave it up. he walked out of the house. i'm surprised he gave it up. so i started walking down the basement and then he came in the back door just as i was going down the basement steps and he said "i'm sorry, dad, i lost my temper. it's just some pornographic stuff in there." he said "just wait, i'll open it up tomorrow morning and show you what it is. just let me put it away now and forget about it. let's not cause an uproar any more today or tonight because of
grandma." and so my not fathoming what could be in that box i said "okay. we'll open it up tomorrow then and let's get rid of it, whatever it is." and the next morning he came down from upstairs and showed me and there was pornographic it will -- literature in there and i said "okay, get rid of it now, i don't want to see any more of it down here." and he said "okay, dad." that was the end of that incident. i didn't realize what was in that box. >> what was in the box? >> well, as i learned later, after the trial, it was -- it was one of the human heads. one of the victims which he then took to his work and put in the locker. i told jeff i can't imagine what
i would do if i would have opened that box and found that because i probably would have reacted in my typical fashion, shock and numbness. i probably would have thought maybe it's an artificial, some type of occult thing or some decorative thing but not human. i can imagine i would finally realize with suspicion what that is. and then -- then i don't know what happened. i think i probably would have lost it. i don't know what i would have done. i asked jeff, you know, what would he have done if i would have found -- if i would have opened that up and found out what that was and all he said was, well, that would have been the end of the line, the jig would have been up. >> one of the chilling stories that your dad tells is about the
box he had found. can you give me your perspective on that? >> i had a box in my bedroom closet and it contained the mum paid to head and genitals of a young man i met in one of the bars down in milwaukee and it was a locked metal box. my dad one week came to visit and happened to see it and we got into a bit of an argument because i wouldn't open it up. he took the locked box down the basement and was about to smash it open. >> what were you thinking as he was making his way down stairs to open the box? >> well, i was outside and i was thinking i've got to stop this
from happening. i didn't know what i would do or say. i didn't know what would happen. i thought it's all going to come crashing down now and -- but the box was never opened. not in my dad's presence and so the lies continued. the whole scenario just continued for years after that. >> wrp there times when your dad may have been closer to discovering what was going on than even he knew? times where you got worried that maybe he would find something out? >> the box incident was about as close as it came, yeah. that was just one incident. there were other bus that was a particularly nerve-wracking one. >> are there others you can share? other close calls?
>>. >> when asid phied dissolved human remains were found. they weren't -- they didn't look like human remains anymore but they were in the trash bin outside in the garage. that was one incident and a few others i'd rather not go into right now. >> were you relieved to be arrested? >> part of me was and part of me wasn't. >> explain. >> i don't know, it's like -- i don't believe i have a split personality but you know the feeling where you're sort of glad about something but on the other hand you're not. that's how it was. it was a relief not to have to keep such a gigantic secret that i kept for so many years and once i saw i had no choice but
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how good was jeff at manipulating you? >> excellent. he was very good. >> good liar? >> he fooled everyone. he fooled me, yeah, very good. he fooled his probation officer, his attorney, the police. he had -- he had bodies in his next room when the police were standing in his outer room. there's so many people he fooled. >> and he could lie and be cool as a cucumber? >> yeah. he just looked very innocuous. looked like an average person who couldn't possibly do the things he did. >> what was it like the first time you saw jeff after he was arrested for murder?
>> oh, that was really tough. he was dishevelled, beard, hadn't slept, there were people screaming in the cells and he just stood there like a limp rag. >> what did you say to each other? >> i went up to him and i said "jeff, i love you." i hulged him, i cried, he didn't seem to be emotionally moved, he seemed like he was just wrung out. >> did he hug you back? >> as well as he could, he was shackled in front of me so he couldn't hug but he pressed forward. but it just seemed like he was just -- his soul had dropped out of him. >> what were his first words to you when he saw you? >> "i'm just so sorry. i really screwed up."
that's pretty much -- unemotional emotionless response. he just said those words. he looked extremely depressed and sad. >> do you remember the feelings? >> yeah, i felt -- i felt really is -- those same feelings, depressi depression, shame and just -- what a waste. the other feelings were that i wanted to still help him in some w way. i kept telling him -- reassuring him that his attorneys said he would get help and i told jeff
you do need help, mental help and we'll try to get you into this place to get you the proper help. >> how did you feel when you first heard about the crimes, the nature of the crimes he committed? >> i think it was sort of a feeling as if i were just floating above myself and observing some other person. as i was i were annumb. it was a total shock. >> you went numb? >> complete numbness. >> in the moment the pain has come through what is it you felt? >> i felt all these different emotions come over me. how am i going to face victims,
families if i go to the trial? how can i arrange something -- my feelings were for jeff, too. i put myself in his place. he's totally lost. i could almost feel the total disorientation and loss, feeling like maybe he would want to commit suicide. i felt very depressed and sha d shamed. just very, very depressed. just to the bottom of the pit. >> have you ever stopped loving your son? >> no. no. i think that part of my continuing to want to love and
support him is because i can remember him as a youth when he was innocent: >> what do you see when you look at jeff's face? >> i guess the parent -- naive narnt me still says i see an innocent, shy child. a defenseless vulnerable child who'py wish i could help now. i know there are some people who say don't -- you know, he shouldn't have any peace, the victims' families don't have peace. but i want to help jeff haeptsz v peace in his mind because there's still thing there is. >> does he deserve that? >> well, yeah, i think he does. >> was there a time when you hated jeff for what he did?
>> yeah, i think probably there was a mixture of feelings and anger and hate and disappointment and just -- and also feeling extremely sorry for what he did. i felt very sorry for victims and their families and also for je jeff. the terrible waste. >> have you had a chance to sit down with jeff and ask him why? why did you do this? what was it? >> i asked him once and he doesn't know. i asked him, he does not know. that seems like a stunted, short answer that, you know, it seems like there should be more of an answer than that but he says he
really doesn't know. coming up -- >> i tell you, dad, i'm really sorry this has happened and i love you a lot. >> i love you, too. i'm sorry. >> don't be sorry. >> the conclusion to "confessions of a serial killer" when we come back. a very special guest. come on out, flo! [house band playing] you have anything to say to flo? nah, i'll just let the results do the talking. [crowd booing] well, he can do that. we show our progressive direct rate and the rates of our competitors even if progressive isn't the lowest. it looks like progressive is not the lowest! ohhhh! when we return, we'll find out whether doug is the father. wait, what? you can't breathed. through your nose. suddenly, you're a mouthbreather. well, just put on a breathe right strip which instantly opens your nose up to 38% more than cold medicine alone. shut your mouth and say goodnight mouthbreathers.
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so far more than two million people across america have benefitted. internet essentials is going to transform the lives of families. i see myself as maybe an entrepreneur. internet essentials from comcast. helping to bridge the digital divide. your father told me that one of the reasons he wrote this book was in order to put down on paper what he has been unable to say to you in words. kind of reaching out to you. what do you want to say to him? >> i tell you, dad, i'm really sorry that this has happened and i love you a lot. >> i love you, too. >> i'm sorry. >> don't be sorry.
>> we haven't always shown it a lot but i do love him a great dea deal. >> i love you. >> and without the support of my folks i don't think i would have come through this. >> we've opened up with each other a lot more now since the trial. there's no secrets to be hidden away and i don't feel i have to keep any set copley square frim. we've come to face what's real instead of just glossing over and talking about superficial things so there's a lot more communication between us. >> this book my serve as a further bridge between jeff and myself and just for that purpose i regard it as valuable for me. >> do you feel closer to your dad having read this? >> i feel that -- i feel closer
in that i understand more how he was thinking, what his thoughts were. what some of his motivations were. i'm glad he wrote it. >> anything not in the book you want to say to him? >> i can't think too clearly right now. i'm feeling pretty emotional. i think a lot of things in this interview has brought us into a closer understanding of how this all arch nated and but whatever i get emotional my analytical side gets clouded and i can't express myself quite as well as i would like. >> can you talk about the
feelings you're having? >> i feel very close to jeff and it's going continue until our death. and i feel good about. >> it do you think you'll ever have the answers you're looking for about why? what happened and what role you played? >> maybe not, my primary question is the origins of it. and if something we can be learn about that it may help other people avert problems. >> is it still there, jeff? does it ever go away? >> no, it never completely goes away. i'll probably is to live with it for the rest of my life. i wish it would go away. i wish there was some way to completely get rid of the compulsive thoughts, the feelings it's not nearly so bad
knew there's no avenues to act on it but it never seems to go completely away. so the thoughts still come to you? >> sometimes, yes. >> are you different in terms of how you think back on all of this? >> i would hope i'm different. i'm glad i'm in a position now where i don't feel the compulsion to do these things. i'm glad that it's over. any words i say to the victims' families are just going to seem trite and empty. i don't know how to express the regret, the sorrow, the sorrow that i feel for what i've done to their sons. i can't find the right words.
>> after the interview at the prison dahmer casually showed us something a little unsettling. >> just the point of interest, that that's the type of box. >> this is the type of box? he wanted us to know this box looked strikingly like the one his father found, the one jeffrey used to hide body parts thank you, jeff. >> all right. to this day the interview with jeffrey dahmer remains one of the eariest experiences of my 30 years in television news, from the weak handshake with which he greeted me to his bizarre observation about that metal box as he returned to his cell. dahmer was a haunting figure. he often said he wanted the death penalty. nine months after our interview, his death wish came true. i'm stone phillips.
>> pointing at the head, boom, boom, boom, boom. >> putting video and audio in a living and breathing drug house and turning the keys over to the gang when you wanted to turn them over, that had never been done before. >> i get shots. >> it's 24 hours a day and you actually see 24 hours a day of what these people are doing and how they live and how they operate their business in amongst the